POSTED: 10:13 a.m. HST, Feb 26, 2011
LAST UPDATED: 11:39 a.m. HST, Feb 26, 2011
CONYERS, Ga. >> A 14-month-old girl who wandered away from her mother and grandmother spent several tense hours trapped inside a time-locked bank vault and authorities pumped fresh air through vents to the crying child until a locksmith freed her, police said.
The locksmith pried the toddler unharmed from the vault Friday night about four hours after she went missing while visiting a grandparent who worked at a Wells Fargo bank branch in the greater Atlanta suburb of Conyers, police said.
Authorities say police and firefighters couldn't free the toddler and feverishly summoned the locksmith after the child apparently strayed into the open vault as the bank was closing Friday — before an employee shut the vault door for the day.
Conyers Police Chief Gene Wilson told reporters it was a "very tense scene" as authorities stood by along with the relatives, and rescue workers pumped fresh air into vents leading to the vault.
Conyers police, contacted by The Associated Press early Saturday, said they would have no immediate updates.
The child was spotted on security cameras inside the vault, which has a time-release lock, Wilson said. He added that the locksmith used a large drill to breach the vault about four hours after it had been closed.
"That was one of the better moments I've ever witnessed," Wilson said, adding the girl was fine save a needed diaper change.
He said the girl delivered a note written by her grateful mother to the locksmith before heading home.
Authorities did not release the child's name.